Come along for a paddle on the lake with us!
by Rachelle Siegrist
Our good friend Kit joined Wes and I for a morning paddle early last Monday. After unloading the kayaks at the ramp along Lower Chilhowee Lake, I got into my beloved pink kayak, and a state of complete relaxation instantly fell over me! The air was still and cool, with crystal clear blue skies above, as we started our journey. Only the sounds of Red-wing Blackbirds, Ospreys and a few others could be heard, with the occasional call of a frog joining in, creating a setting of sublime peace. Gliding along, we started noticing big splashes up ahead sending ripples out across the water’s glassy surface.
Drawing closer, we soon realized it was the large Grass Carp spawning, bringing them to the water’s surface, leaving cloudy trails of mud as they zipped through the water. We soon found ourselves in the middle of several of them, and sitting still, they swam directly by and sometimes beneath our kayaks, occasionally making it possible to feel their backs as they went by.
We sat in the still, shallow water for quite sometime, excitedly watching them swim by and splashing about on the surface. The crystal clear water gave the illusion of gliding along the surface of an aquarium while watching the fish swim below! Paddling along, I happened to notice a small bird nest in a tree on a nearby island, so I had to get out and carefully peak to see if there were any eggs or babies in it yet. The nest was empty, but it was a beautiful little nest and quite interesting to see.
The current lower water levels of the river, or what I call Lower Chilhowee, exposed numerous tree stumps scattered throughout, many showing off such interesting shapes and forms, telling of days gone by.
Soon we found a perfect spot for a floating picnic, after Kit announced he had seen an otter . . . twice no less! So we tied our kayaks together and patiently watched, while hoping to catch a glimpse of this illusive otter. Wes and I never saw it, but we enjoyed watching a pair of Canada Geese nearby and I personally thoroughly enjoyed basking in the warmth of the sun!
This is certainly one of my happy places, and I felt as if I could merrily spend the entire day in my kayak on this beautiful body of water! I got off to explore another island, where I saw deer tracks leading down to the waters edge. We also watched as Ospreys flew above and into a large nest located atop an evergreen tree, while Cormorants adorned small stumps like hood ornaments nearby, patiently drying out their wings after a swim.
Although I could’ve easily stayed out all day, Wes and Kit were ready to head back early that afternoon, so we started our journey back to the ramp. It was another great day on the lake and a perfect one for Kit’s first time out kayaking with us! Wes and I unbelievably forgot our cameras, so many thanks to Kit for all of the great photos!
Meanwhile here at the house, my Carolina Wrens have decided that the prime real estate for building a nest is located directly by the back door on the porch, with close proximity to the mealworm feeding bowl! They built the beautiful masterpiece over the period of a couple of days, and it truly amazes me to think they did it all with their beaks! I’m hoping to share their nesting progress over the next few weeks with you on future blog posts.
Spring is in full swing now and the yard is filled with color! Several things are currently blooming, including my Nelly Moser Clematis, which is absolutely stunning this year, greeting guests with a splash of color, as they walk to the front door!
Two of my favorite colors . . . pink and purple!
~ Currently On the Easel ~
I’m currently painting on my latest dog commission of an adorable Havanese named Hugo. Just like the many other totally cute dogs I’ve painted, he is great fun to work on! I’m anxious to share the final painting with you hopefully the next blog post. Wes is currently painting a miniature featuring one of the beautiful white geese he photographed at the Falls of the Ohio, during our recent visit to his parents home in IN. We’re also painting another Tandem Treasure miniature of three Clown Fish that are too cute for their own good!
Until next time . . .